Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
Japanese heart-stopping terror with the Ring series.
(Originally published in Vector, Sep 2002)
Two teenage girls are taking a brake from their homework to talk about boys, but soon the conversation takes a darker turn. There’s this videotape, see, and it’s cursed. It was recorded off a dead channel (some kid on holiday wanted to see the baseball but the channel did not extend that far) You watch and then the phone rings – one week later the phone rings again and you’re dead. One of the girls admits to seeing it… but she’s just teasing her friend. Or is she? Then the phone rings. Then the television turns on on its own…
Sounds dreadful doesn’t it? Some straight-to-video American slasher movie, or a post-Scream ironic comedy.
Actually no. This is Ringu (Ring). It’s Japanese and an unbelievable good straight horror film. There’s no gore – it’s only a ‘15′ certificate – but it’s just about the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Although recently suffering from a series of profound economic depressions, Japanese culture has been going through a renaissance – not least in the horror gene and Ring is just one of a number of effective films that have come West such as Battle Royal and Uzumaki. Read the rest of this entry »
Well I only watched this expecting some cool shots of Tokyo… those I got but there’s not much else here.
The plot is so by the numbers I was predicting actual scenes as they came up. There’s this poor but cool racing guy with a southern accent. After one race too many against the stupid jock who runs the school (and whose dad is of course rich and powerful) he’s got the choice of going to Japan or going to jail (an aspect of the American legal system that I must admit had previously escaped me). I loved the ultra-cliched bit where he turns up at his dad’s house (which is naturally the size of shoe box) and dad has to turn out ‘central casting’s dodgy-looking Japanese woman’. It’s really handy that once out hero arrives in Japan the one person who talks to him at lunch can get him into the local street racing scene. In between the car stuff there is a lot of frankly boring sub-par philosophy and a rubbish love story, where the hick hero falls for the odd looking local gangster’s moll ignoring all the j-babes around him. These are frankly agony to sit through. The bad guy is so over the top with the jealous staring and face-offs it looks like he’s got some sort of gay crush on the hero. There’s a road race towards the end that manages to include every significant bit of neon in the whole of Tokyo.
Naturally it ends in a big race between the goodie and the baddie and the baddie wins… heh, only kidding. I suppose if you are into car-porn you might like it but I’m afraid I could not really summon up enough of my inner fourteen-year old to enjoy it.